Have I ever told you how much I LOVE THRIVE? :)
I just made these Meals in a Jar, and they are amazing! Now I have 40 quick and delicious meals that even my kids and husband can make in a few minutes. Just dump into a pot, add water and simmer! They were so excited when they came home from an activity and saw these! I thought I would share the recipes for these in case you are interested!
Almost all of these ingredients come from Thrive, except for a few spices, like taco seasoning, garlic powder and pepper. The happiest part for me, is I got most of my ingredients FREE from being a consultant and hosting my own classes! If you are interested in hosting a class to earn free and half off product, or becoming a consultant, please contact me and I can send you some info to consider and help you get started! (firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-818-1569)
A few quick notes: You can substitute products from other companies, but be careful with the bouillon. I tried one recipe with another company's chicken bouillon, and it was waaaaaay too salty. You may need to make some adjustments if substituting.
You can make double batches of soup mix in half gallon jars, and half batches in pint jars (they hold 2 cups). I love how these can be customized so easily!
***Make sure you start with clean, COMPLETELY DRY jars and measuring cups! Personally, I wash my jars and then put them in the oven at 200 degrees until they are completely dry. Then I take them out of the oven and let them cool, and let the filling begin!
CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT FOOD YOU NEED TO BUY TO MAKE A "BATCH" OF EACH RECIPE!
This is my family's favorite soup!
This is my recipe that I created.
I am not sure yet where this recipe came from...still searching. It was in my stack of recipes I printed off one day to try out. If you know, please tell me!
You can use other noodles in this, but I like these bowtie noodles!
¼ cup Bechamel Sauce
½ tsp Freeze Dried Basil
2 cups Rainbow Farfalle (Bowtie) Noodles
Bring 8 cups of water to boil. Add contents of jar and stir well. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes or until the noodles are done. Top with Parmesan or Mozzarella Cheese.
Original Recipe comes from Shelli Rasmussen
This came in handy when we got sick with the flu! This tastes SOOO much better than canned soup from the store...and healthier too!
1/2 tsp Freeze Dried Garlic (or garlic powder)
2 cups Egg Noodles
*Season your jar meal of Chicken Noodle Soup they way you like chicken soup! You might want to put in a little poultry seasoning, marjoram, some parsley or a bay leaf!
Not sure where this recipe came from either. Still looking!
This is not a simple answer. There are a lot of factors here, but let's break it down to some info we need to consider. Most companies say that their freeze dried foods last 25-30 years unopened, but once opened, you have about 1 year to use the product in the can. This will vary according to the exact product. You will need to know the approximate shelf life of the products you put into the jar.
Here is an awesome document from Thrive that shows optimum shelf life while sealed, approximate shelf life once opened, allergens, if the product is non GMO, country of origin, etc.
Thrive Product Detail List
With this in mind, you would need to consider the shelf life of each product in the jar, AND YOU NEED TO SEAL THE JAR! If the sealed shelf life of sausage is 25 years, but you also have Pasta in the jar which only has a shelf life of 8 years, then your jar meal technically has a shelf life of 8 years.
HOWEVER, you need to consider that a jar lets in light, and light can reduce the shelf life of your food. I personally think you should use your jar meals within a year or so for optimum freshness. I just made 40 jar meals, and there's no way they will last more than a year on my shelf because my family will eat them up sooner than that!
How can you seal the jar?
You can vacuum seal it with a Pump n Seal or with a Vacuum Sealer machine (like a Food Saver or Seal a Meal.) You can also put an oxygen absorber in the jar. That seems like a waste of money to me, so I use my Pump N Seal or Food Saver.
But if you consider that once you open a can of freeze dried food, that you have about a year to use it (with just the plastic lid on the can), then technically you don't need to seal it. You just need to use it within a year (or whatever the lowest opened shelf life is for all of the products in your jar.)
Can I store them in Zip Lock Freezer bags?
Sure. You can make the meals and put them in zip lock freezer bags, but your food will not be as protected as in jars. I would say to use them within a few months if stored in baggies. But it's a great option for temporary storage...like when camping or hiking or backpacking.
SHORT ANSWER: Everyone seems to have their own opinion...I have read a lot about this online and found opposite extremes in opinions and information. Here is my advice: be smart, make sure your jars are completely dry before you fill them, use quality fresh products, store in a dark cabinet or pantry, seal them if you can for added protection, and use within a reasonable amount of time. Just eat them! They are delicious!